Last Run of 2018 and Final Stats

So 2018 ends, not quite a chilly as when it began. It has been a pretty decent year and one that I needed. I learned a lot about myself and running, which ended up with one of the most consistent running years I have had in a long time. I may not have gotten as many miles as some years, but I did run with less down time due to injury than I have in a while.

All very good things.

Total Miles Run: 1,665

Total number of runs: 330

Starting weight: 166

Ending weight: 157

Favorite running shoe: adidas Tempo 9

What did I do for my last run in 2018?

It actually was a nice day outside, mid 20’s, bright sunshine, very light breeze, so I had to get outside for this run to end the year.

However, down-back just was not runnable once you got down past the lower gate – too much ice, so that meant either doing laps or heading down to Pepin. Mary walked down there yesterday and said it was still pretty badly iced over. So I figured that doing laps was goin to be the way it would work out.

I started out pretty slow and even though I was picking up the pace to my old (before H/R training started) pace, although I kept getting the low heart-rate warning – meaning my heart-rate was below 120 bpm even though I was going a little faster than I have been lately. Which are a very good sign that the heart-rate training is starting to work, that I have something going on that I need to look at or the watch is screwed up.

I have a feeling it is the last one, after the last few runs on the treadmill and getting similar readings previously.

I didn’t really look at the watch all that much during the run. I focused more on running comfortably and wasn’t too worried about the heart-rate today.

Unfortunately, I don’t really think that my Garmin Forerunner 35 is all that accurate when it comes to running and getting a good heart-rate. I am going to do a search tonight to see if there are ways to improve the accuracy and if not I will do a complete reset of the watch.

Start over kind of thing.

The thing is I do believe that the heart-rate training is starting to work for me, but not quite as good as the results that are being shown on the last few runs. I am getting in decent shape, losing a bit of weight and eating a lot better, but dropping the heart-rate and increasing the paces this much in about 2-3 weeks over the holidays – well that just ain’t reality.

Now to do some Sherlock Holmes and figure out how to get fairly accurate heart-rate readings from my watch while running (not fast or intervals) at my 120-135 bpm range that I am looking to stay within.

Happy New Year’s!!!

Frustration, Mirroring, Settling In and Strides

Damn that 1.0 mile walk down-back with Bennie with Bennie felt more like 10.0 miles between the ice and frozen snow. The temps were in the mid teens and while there was just a little breeze, it wasn’t anything crazy. I am not sure what it was, but it felt freaking cold! Colder than the thermometer read at least.

When my face hurts after walking only a mile, it ain’t a good thing. Which meant that a treadmill run was going to happen.

It was just a question of what and how many miles.

Well the what was going be heart-rate training and keeping it under my self-imposed 140 bpm, not the MAF recommended 124 bpm. Yeah, I know…but it is where I am comfortable.

I did my usual warm-up and then the 10:00 minute warm-up on the treadmill. I am getting so that I like that too. It gets the body/mind get ready to do something versus my usual get on the treadmill and hammer away. A much easier transition to the run.

While I was warming-up, I thought it might be a good day to do a MAF test and see about where I am.

So I did and the result were mixed my actual speeds for the 4.0 miles were a little different than the watch and the heart-rate well, let’s just say I probably need to add 15-20 bpm to each one.

What to hell happened?

My heart-rate was ALL over the place for the first 20 minutes of the run according to the chest strap I was 164 bpm or better, err right around my cadence, but my Garmin had me way low??? So the first and probably most of the second miles were suspect at best. Then the mileage per mile variance for the first mile was over .11 – when I got to 3.0 miles then it was “only” a total of .23 off.

I am not sure what happened between miles 2 and 3, but things seemed to calm down on the chest strap and it was reading in the 130-135 bpm very consistently. Also about that same time another guy got on the treadmill beside me and he was wearing a heart-rate monitor as well.

When I looked over after a couple of minutes I noticed that his heart-rate was just about mirroring mine. By this time I was running 6.2 mph and he was walking about 3.4 mph. He didn’t look to be completely out of shape or anything and he was walking flat, so I kind of thought that his treadmill was picking up my signal, not his.

I just kept using my console heart-rate and ignored my watch’s read-out.

When the guy beside stopped his treadmill, I noticed that my console continued to read the same as it had been. So his treadmill was mirroring my heart-rate not his. Good thing that I stayed with mine. I hope that I didn’t screw up his workout too much.

Looking back I am not going to use this run as a MAF test, there was just too much variability on the part of the heart-rate monitor even though I felt like I started at the right speeds and reduced the speed whenever my console hit 140 bpm (well after the heart-rate monitor got settled in).

I went from 6.4 mph to 5.9 mph and felt comfortable through out the run. If the Garmin’s bpm was accurate (it wasn’t), then I am in a LOT better shape than I thought. 😉

Comfortable enough that I really felt like I wanted to run a little faster.

So I did 5 x .1 strides to finish up. Yeah, I know that when doing MAF training that this early in the base phase I ain’t supposed to be doing this stuff. However, I also believe that if you do zero speed work, that when you do start the body takes longer to get back to it. In my un-expert opinion and based on being an old fart who loves to run faster than he should, once a week doing a set of 5 strides ain’t gonna hurt too many things.

Oh yeah, the bpm that shows up on the Strava/Garmin graphs – yeah right at the end of each of those strides, the console was showing my heart-rate was between 160-168 bpm just a bit of thumping going on.

Overall, a very good workout and one of these days I will get the heart-rate crap straightened out to where it doesn’t frustrate me as much or some figure out how to avoid my h/r monitors from picking up my cadence. Right now I am just focusing on keeping things under 140 bpm and establishing a decent base.

Goals for 2018 – How Did I Do?

2018 has been quite a good year for me.

One thing I believe that every runner should do between Christmas and New Year’s is go back and read their running log. It has gems, treasures and a trove of information regarding how you actually ran during the year, versus the one that you tend to play in your head. I know when I went back and read my log this year, it brought back a lot of memories and the why I did things the way I did. Plus with that great 20/20 hindsight that I have I saw several things that if I could do them over, I would do them differently.

How Did I Do?

I really think this photo from Quarry Road says a LOT about 2018.

In 2018 I did update my 40 Years Of Running series an if you interested in reading more about an old fart’s memories you can click on the link.

Needless to say my running has gone better than it has in a long time, especially once I finally figured out that racing is more stress than it was worth. While I ran in way too many running shoes, I learned a lot about what works for me and what does not. Also I read a lot of books on running, tried more than a few philosophies, methods or programs, all in the name of attempting to improve my running. Continue reading

Making Progress and Catching Up

It has been a few days since I have gotten around to logging my runs on the blog.

So I am going to short cut Wednesday and Thursday’s post by doing a screen shot of my spreadsheet. Yes, it is cheating, but that’s okay, its my blog so I get to make the rules. 🙂

After thinking about it, I added in today’s synopsis from the spreadsheet as well.

Doing okay with the heart-rate based training. I can’t really call it strict MAF training, but it is loosely based on it and so far I am happy with the progress I am making. Yeah, I know doesn’t that defeat saying I am doing MAF…probably. However, I am not all that good at following rules completely by the book anymore.

Actually, I have a feeling that if anything, not specifically using his heart-rate computation would simply slow down the aerobic adaptation process, but not completely stop it. So while I might not be maximizing my aerobic response, I am still making progress.

Which I am noticing.

One of the difficulties that I am having that when running on the treadmill and both using my watch and my chest strap heart-rate monitors, while they got close a few times, but are usually about 10 bpm difference between the two. So today I just focused on using the chest strap and ignored the watch’s which I believe is less accurate. Even though that is what I get to look at after everything is done.

All I know was that it was a lot less frustrating and after today’s experience I am going to turn-off the heart-rate zone warning for running indoor.

Unfortunately, this also means that I will not have the same heart-rate data that I used during the run, to evaluate later and will have to rely on what I already know is less accurate data to see how I was doing. I have a feeling that I will not look at the numbers so much as as the trending of the graph line. Well as long as it doesn’t keep catching my cadence at some point during the run.

Which just means that I do not have an accurate record of the run to compare with more recent runs. Oh well, first-world runner problems.

Today’s run is a good example of that. I was able to maintain 140 bpm or under for 5.2 miles at 6.2 mph which is a lot better than I have been doing. I ended up keeping under 140 bpm at 6.0 mph, so I know that I am making aerobic progress.

The only bad thing about the Polar chest strap heart-rate monitor is that my Garmin doesn’t play with it at all and as a result I don’t have a graph of my heart-rate to look at after the run.

I do feel as though I am making some progress on getting my aerobic base put in place, but I do miss doing repeats and strides a few times a week. However, I am sort of attempting to be good and do most of the MAF training stuff, well except on Friday nights (when it comes to food – it is my Pizza and Beer night) through the end of March.

This is my experiment to see if running slower now will help me run faster down the road.

At least I am learning what a recovery run is supposed to feel like versus my sort of recovery runs that were my staple before I started using the heart-rate monitor.

A good run today.

Merry Christmas and a Late Run

Running in the dark without a light – not too smart sometimes Harold – are you?

It is called misjudging how much light was left.

I hope your Christmas was as good as mine. It was a rather low-key, small family gathering and reflects my life very well. Quiet and peaceful, even the dogs got along quite nicely, which was a huge relief.

Yes, my presents were running and cold-weather gear…I can’t imagine why.

Running shoes – check

New running tops – check

Wool socks – check

Winter mittens – check

Thank you everyone for getting the things that I needed to stay warm and comfortable outside this coming winter.

Our Christmas dinner was not the traditional turkey/ham and we had a lasagna, rolls and of course desserts. All stuff that of course I am supposed to avoid since I have gone to more of a lower carb diet. However, I am not feeling too guilty about it, after all it is only one day and tomorrow I will get back to eating the way that I want going forward.

Okay enough about today, how was my run

I didn’t get out to run until after 4:00 PM, I did need to bond, err nap with Bennie for a while to sleep off the lunch and desserts.

The run itself was not anything special, just trying to stay within my heart-rate range and get back to the house before it got too dark. Coming back up Stevens Hill it got a bit dusky faster than I thought it was going when I left.

When I got to the neighbor’s house, I heard a little scratching noise behind me and when I looked two of their Golden Retrievers were stalking up behind me. As soon as I saw them I stopped and faced them. At that point they started barking and got very aggressive. Luckily when I started yelling the owner who was outside working down by his barn yelled and the dogs backed off. I waved and started running again.

I really figured that the heart rate monitor was going to go bonkers. Instead, my heart-rate went much lower and even after I started running again it stayed a bit lower than I expected for a ways. It was strange, even though the dogs startled me, I wasn’t scared or anything, I was very focused and ready to attack them if they had come at me.

Strange how that works sometimes.

The rest of the run, it was pretty hard to see without the flashlight I had left in the house, but I finished the 4.0 miles that I wanted to do today.

I know that I felt a lot better once I got done running – I was glad that I had gone out, especially since I came pretty close to just not doing it and saying Christmas got in the way.

I did pretty good on staying within my heart-rate range, so I was happy with how I felt.

Merry Christmas everyone and now to get to the end of 2018.

Getting the Theory and a Better Run

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone who celebrates Christmas and I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow. I plan to Go For A Run in the morning and then eat way too much, followed by a nap and then a LONG walk. 🙂

Let’s get back to today.

After walking down-back with Bennie and Mary this morning, I decided to head into the gym for a treadmill run. No it was not stoopidly cold or anything like that, it was more that I just didn’t feel like dealing with the cold during my run.

However, I didn’t attempt to get anywhere near any shopping kind of place. I could see the road to the Market Place in Augusta was absolutely bonkers and had no wish to subject myself to that kind of stress.

I have been reading Phil Maffetone’s Big Book of Endurance on the Kindle App and getting a lot of the “why” behind MAF training after getting the eBook yesterday and blog post/articles that I have found online.

No, I am not completely convinced that MAF heart-rate training is going to be the cure to all my running ills, but something inside of me feels that at least parts of what Maffetone suggests are a part of the solution that I have been searching.

We will see. Continue reading

Finally A Decent Heart-Rate Based Run

Well that run was the first MAF or heart-rate training that I didn’t feel completely frustrated. My Garmin FR35’s heart-rate monitor worked like I expected it to, I wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere and I was able to keep moving ahead without the negativity going on in my head about going so slow.

Down-back was finally runnable again and I really prefer to run outside when the conditions favor it. Today the roads were dry, the sun was out and while there was a 10mph or so breeze and 23*F when I left the house – close enough. I have run in colder and worse conditions. I was dressed correctly and had no issues with the weather.

I started out with what I felt was going to end up being a 135 bpm run and tried to maintain a steady pace throughout the run. It took a mile or so to get up to that 135 bpm range and I worked hard to stay below the max. Continue reading

Eating Better and My Watch Picking Up My Cadence

The rains came and went, along with a LOT of snow. Lake Christie is back and down-back while runnable is not to the point where I would like to run through to Tiffany right now.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been changing what I eat pretty significantly. Going to the Doctor and getting good feedback on how I am doing in my efforts to get healthy can be a humbling endeavor. Continue reading

A MAF Test and a bit of Rain

This morning, it was a bit dicey/icey on the road for Bennie’s first walk, so it became a pretty short one. No Bennie wasn’t impressed with suddenly sitting down without wanting to. It also meant chauffeur duty for SD2 and an early visit to the the gym, since it was supposed to rain all day.

Which was okay with me.

I have started to get my head wrapped around the why’s heart-rate training might be what I need to do going forward. I stepped on the treadmill with the idea that I was going to do my first “official” MAF test to get a general idea of where I am.

I did my dynamic warm-up in the stretching room and then a 5 minute walk at 3.3 mph to get the body ready to for the MAF test.

Yes, according to the MAF app on my iPhone my max heart rate should be 124 bpm. Sorry, I just can’t do that speed at this point and time. Yes, it is me and my ego getting in the way and you know something – I am okay with it. I run for more than just training to get better and have to feel as though I am running. The speed I would be doing at 124 bpm didn’t appeal to that side of my running.

Which meant that I made the conscious choice to use the different max heart rate of 135 bpm than what Maffetone recommends. My body my choice. Continue reading